What Is Asbestos & Where Will You Find It?

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a cluster of natural minerals which comprise of fine, durable fibres.  It was commonly used for the insulation and fireproofing of buildings, before being banned in 1999 due to safety fears.

Being exposed to or working with asbestos for large amounts of time can result in serious health issues including mesothelioma, asbestosis and even lung cancer.  Therefore if you’re working with a building built prior to 2000, asbestos may be present and you should be prepared to deal with it the safest way possible to reduce the risk of illness and even death.

We offer a range of Asbestos Awareness courses to help you understand the risks when working with asbestos, but most importantly have the knowledge to implement the correct safety precautions. The three main courses are:

Where Will You Find Asbestos?

If you’re working in a pre-2000 built building then the most common places to find asbestos are:

  • Floor Tiles
  • Ceiling Tiles
  • Roof Shingles
  • Insulation (particularly around boilers and pipes)
  • Pipe Cement

Some buildings and materials will be clearly marked that they contain asbestos, however if you’re unsure, the safest thing to do is take a sample to be tested at a laboratory before proceeding to work with it.

What Are The Different Types Of Asbestos?

There are six different types of commonly found asbestos:

  • Chrysotile – The most commonly used and can be found in the floors, walls and roofs of older building.
  • Crocidolite – This has the finest fibres, therefore is the easiest to inhale and also the deadliest.
  • Amosite – This type of asbestos is often found in insulation boards as it’s great for heat resistance.>
  • Tremolite – This asbestos is flexible and strong so is often woven into cloth.
  • Actinolite – With a harsh texture, this asbestos type is often used in construction concrete materials.
  • Anthophylite – This is the rarest form of asbestos, and wasn’t widely used in commercial properties.

How To Be Safe When Working With Asbestos

It’s vital to wear PPE clothing, containing a well-fitted respirator when working with asbestos to prevent you from inhaling the fibres.

You should also avoid eating or drinking near the contaminated area, ensure your wash your hands frequently, keep the area clean and dust free as you work; but most importantly never reuse your disposable PPE clothing.

Enrolling on a training course can help you to understand the dangers of asbestos and how to remain safe when working with or around it.

You can view our Asbestos Awareness Training Courses here.